Noe Valley Voice November 2010

A Taste of Holiday Recipes From Local Restaurants

By Pat Rose

They’re Smiling Now: Even before the Giants won the pennant, orange was the color in Downtown Noe Valley, as hundreds of pumpkins and their adorable offspring awaited adoption at the Oct. 23 Harvest Festival.  Did you take one home?   Photo by Pamela Gerard

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about what to feed family and friends. We asked our neighborhood Noe Valley restaurants for their favorite recipes to spruce up a Thanksgiving meal or serve for any holiday dinner this season. Enjoy!

Mark Pastore, owner of Incanto restaurant on Church Street, gave us this wonderful Thanksgiving stuffing recipe that features all local products, including Acme Bread, Hog Island oysters, and sausages from Incanto’s sister business, Boccalone. Several ingredients are available at shops in the Ferry Building Marketplace.


Ferry Building Thanksgiving Stuffing

Recipe by Chris Cosentino, Executive Chef, Incanto Restaurant, 1550 Church St., 641-4500



2 one-pound loaves Acme sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into

1-inch dice (20 cups)

2 tablespoons Boccalone lard

1-1/2 pounds Boccalone Easton’s Breakfast Sausage, casings removed and meat chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large sweet onions, diced

2 large carrots, diced

6 large celery ribs, diced

1 head fennel, diced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped sage

1 cup dry white wine

2 dozen medium to large shucked Hog Island oysters, halved, 1/2 cup liquor reserved

3 cups chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread the bread on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, until crisp; let cool. Transfer to a very large mixing bowl.

In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons lard and cook the sausage meat over moderate heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until no pink remains, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, add the sausage to the bread in the bowl.

Add the 4 tablespoons of solid butter to the fat in the skillet and heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel.

Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook over moderate-to-high heat, stirring until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over high heat until reduced by three-fourths, about 4 minutes.

Add the vegetable mixture to the bread cubes and sausage and toss. Add the oysters and their liquor, and enough chicken stock so that the bread is very moist but not overly soggy; season the stuffing with salt and pepper. Transfer the stuffing to prepared baking dishes.

Bake the stuffing in the upper third of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until hot. Preheat the broiler. Broil the stuffing 6 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes, rotating the baking dishes as needed, until browned on top. Serve immediately.

Serves 8 to 10.

Joan Basso-Ginsberg at PastaGina, our favorite neighborhood pasta takeout and catering service, sent us this simple and yummy side dish that uses seasonal butternut squash and garlic. PastaGina makes it in the shop around the fall holidays. Joan says it’s a great side dish for just about any meat, poultry, fowl, or vegetarian fare.


Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic

Recipe by Joan Basso-Ginsberg

PastaGina, 741 Diamond St., 282-0738



6 pounds butternut squash

1 pound garlic cloves

Olive oil (enough to toss generously)

Brown sugar to taste

Salt, a pinch

1/3 to 1/2 cup water


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash squash. Cut squash into large 2-inch cubes, leaving skin on.

In large bowl, toss squash with enough olive oil to coat each cube. Mix in salt, brown sugar, and water and toss more.

Spread out coated squash on cookie tray, preferably on parchment paper underneath. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes.

Check with fork. When fork goes all the way through, take off foil, put back in oven, and bake until golden brown (10 to 15 minutes).

In a small bowl, mix garlic cloves, pinch of salt, and pepper to taste. If desired, put in oven on a small tray or Pyrex pan 10 to 15 minutes. Garlic should be golden                      brown on one side, soft but not mushy.

Spread out squash on your serving dish. Add garlic cloves over top of squash.

Serves 10 to 12.

From Diana Barrand and Max Braud, owner/chefs of Le Zinc French Bistro comes this delicious potato gratin recipe, which the restaurant often serves during the winter months.


Gratin aux Pommes de Terre

Courtesy Diana Barrand and Max Braud, Le Zinc French Bistro, 4063 24th St., 647-9400



6 medium French fingerling or Roseval potatoes

2 ounces heavy cream (1/4 cup)  

4 ounces Emmentaler cheese



Fresh ground nutmeg

2 cloves freshly sliced garlic


“Pté a Croque” (cream mixture)

(Mix one day ahead.)


1 egg yolk

1 whole egg

1 ounce heavy cream (2 tablespoons)

3 ounces grated Emmentaler cheese



Fresh ground nutmeg


Finely cut the potatoes lengthwise with a mandoline slicer (1/8 of an inch). Butter individual gratin ramekins.

Layer the potatoes, cheese, and garlic in the ramekins. Mix together the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and pour over the layered potatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees in convection oven (400 degrees regular oven) for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, pour the “pté a croque” mixture on top.

Bake at 350 degrees in convection oven for at least another 20 minutes until potatoes are cooked.

Serve in the ramekins.

Serves 2.


Maple, Apple, and Dried Cherry Crostata


The holidays would not be complete without a sweet dessert to end the meal. From Incanto’s pastry chef, Julie Antone, comes this mouth-watering fruit crostata.



1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Freshly grated zest of 1/2 lemon

8 tablespoons or 4 ounces of unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch slices

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B

3 tablespoons sour cream

2-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of cinnamon

1/4 cup dried cherries, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 1/2 hour and then drained

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons turbinado (or brown) sugar


Dough: Blend the sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest on low speed in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the chopped butter, continue mixing until the dough is sandy and the butter is pea-sized. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix until the mixture comes together, then mix it for 15 seconds more.

Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic and wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough is good for up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and roll out the dough into a circle that is 10 inches in diameter. The dough may crack a little but can be repaired by patching back together again. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan.

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, maple syrup, spices, sour cream, and flour together. Add the apples to this mixture. In the center of the dough, place the filling mixture. Spread slightly.

Fold 1/2 to 1 inch of the outer edge of the dough circle over the edge of the apple mixture. This will form the edge of the crostata. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Sprinkle the cherries on top of the apple mixture. Place in oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the underside of the crust is a golden brown.

Best served warm.

Note: You can use pears instead of apples, and raisins or cranberries instead of the cherries.

Serves 6.